One of the greatest challenges faced by the runners I coach and train is developing symmetrical balance (which stems from the vestibular canal and inner ear regions). By this I mean the ability to square up and center the body over the feet whilst improving the activity in the inner ear area. This in turn creates a symmetry (coordination) of the left and right legs to ensure level left-right foot striking. The net result is less needless body motion, lighter foot strikes, less risk of hip dropping, knee rotation and excessive foot pronation/supination – all of which can lead to needless running ‘itis’ injuries.
The following sequence of drills can be done virtually anywhere with only a balance pad or Bosu Ball as a prop. Do these daily, trying to hold each one for a minimum of 30 and maximum of 60 seconds (all of them are done from a standing position and, of course, BAREFOOT):
- 1 foot in line with the other (heel to toes), arms crossed over chest, eyes open and looking straight ahead. Hold steady and repeat with other foot leading
- repeat above but with eyes closed
- on 1 leg, bend at the knee slightly on the support leg, hold the other leg up with the lower 1/2 parallel to the ground and the knee even with the support knee. Arms crossed over the chest and looking straight ahead. Repeat on other leg
- repeat above with eyes closed
- repeat above but add a repeat 1/2 squat action (no wavering of knee over foot)
- whilst walking forward with arms crossed over chest, turn your head to the right, left, up and down (hold each turn for a 2 count) and repeat the circuit for the time duration
- repeat with eyes closed
As you perfect these, do #s 1 through 6 on the balance pad. Finally, progress to the rounded side of a Bosu Ball. Once you get to this level, you will be locked into a balanced, squared-up body position that will guarantee efficient, injury-free running. For those who dare not run outdoors barefoot, make sure to put the Barefoot-Science inserts (check them out on my website – www.naturalrunning.ca) into your footwear. These stimulate proprioceptive feedback from the feet arches through the whole body, automatically squaring you up.
Put the drills into your weekly training regimes and look forward to injury-free running.
JOIN COACH JEFF for an upcoming clinic and enjoy #InjuryFreeRunning!